Tributes have been paid to screen “pioneer” Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to make it in British cinema.
Bermudian newspaper The Royal Gazette reported that the screen star died aged 102.
Cameron’s career began in 1951 with Pool Of London, credited as being the first British film to feature an interracial relationship.
We are sorry to hear that Earl Cameron, who played Pinder in Thunderball, has passed away at the age of 102. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. pic.twitter.com/vOQrWQQAf1— James Bond (@007) July 4, 2020
His later credits included playing Pinder in Bond movie Thunderball, Inception, and Sir Sidney Poitier’s 1973 movie A Warm December.
Actor Paterson Joseph wrote on Twitter: “Giant Man. His generation’s pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on.
“No shoulders were broader than this gentleman with the voice of God and the heart of a kindly prince. RIP Earl Cameron.”
Giant Man. His generation’s pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on. No shoulders were broader than this gentleman with the voice of god and the heart of a kindly prince. RIP Earl Cameron. 🖤 https://t.co/BTonZcm13x— Paterson Joseph (@ignatius_sancho) July 4, 2020
Film production company StudioCanalUK wrote: “We’re deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pool Of London actor Earl Cameron – one of the first prominent black actors to break through the ‘colour bar’ of British cinema.”
Actor David Harewood said Cameron was “a total legend”.
Nicholas Pegg paid tribute to Cameron, as well as Louis Mahoney, the Fawlty Towers and Doctor Who actor whose death, aged 81, was announced recently.
Raising a glass to Louis Mahoney and Earl Cameron, both of whom we lost this week. Fine actors, and back in the day two of the most prominent people of colour in a profession overwhelmingly white. Both in Doctor Who of course, and much else besides, from Cry Freedom to Inception. pic.twitter.com/DnhKbla5oD— Nicholas Pegg (@NicholasPegg) July 4, 2020
“Fine actors, and back in the day two of the most prominent people of colour in a profession overwhelmingly white,” he said.
Dance choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne said of Cameron: “Sad that we didn’t see more opportunities given to this fine actor during his long career… but a groundbreaker certainly and a great legacy to celebrate today.”
In 2017, Cameron told The Guardian: “I never saw myself as a pioneer. It was only later, looking back, that it occurred to me that I was.”
We’re deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pool of London actor Earl Cameron - one of the first prominent black actors to break through the “colour bar” of British cinema. RIP. pic.twitter.com/JZ8JDej7yi— StudiocanalUK (@StudiocanalUK) July 4, 2020
He told the newspaper: “Unless it was specified that this was a part for a black actor, they would never consider a black actor for the part. And they would never consider changing a white part to a black part.
“So that was my problem. I got mostly small parts, and that was extremely frustrating – not just for me but for other black actors. We had a very hard time getting worthwhile roles.”
His TV credits included Doctor Who in 1966, as well as Danger Man, Dixon Of Dock Green, The Zoo Gang, The Prisoner, The Dark Man and Lovejoy.
A total legend. RIP Earl Cameron. https://t.co/d6fZ3CYx6m— David Harewood (@DavidHarewood) July 4, 2020
Born in Bermuda, he joined the British merchant navy and arrived in the UK in 1939.
He told the Royal Gazette he made his debut in the chorus of Chu Chin Chow, a West End show, when he was working as a dishwasher at a restaurant and they needed someone quickly.
The Royal Gazette said Cameron lived in Warwickshire with his second wife Barbara.
He was made a CBE in 2009.